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   Vol. 15  No. 50
Wednesday June 29, 2016

The Butler Takes Flight Deep In The Heart Of Texas

The Butler Takes Flight

Jim Butler

“When it comes to sorting priorities, the top priority at American Airlines Cargo as summer 2016 begins is to keep our focus on continuing our efforts around customer experience and service and reliability, which, honestly, are always top priorities.
     “However, given some of the extreme temperatures and increased passenger travel, as a company we have once again regrouped to make sure we have all the necessary tools in place to ensure that all customers have the experience we aim to provide every day.
     “It also goes without saying that we’ll continue to focus on the safe and effective transport of cold chain and perishable shipments, including increased collaboration efforts with IATA and other supply chain contributors.”

That Was The Year That Was

     “Obviously, 2015 had its challenges from a global economic perspective and 2016 continues to show signs of weakness. However, we continue to build the organizational and technological foundations, which continue to embody our core customer focused strategy.
     “One example of this investment is our Customer Experience team and I have received great feedback on this addition since its inception last year.
     “This year we will continue to invest in the customer experience and our network and fleet. Overall, our operational performance has been at an all-time high on many different parameters—and with service to over 50 countries, many on new environmentally-friendly, fuel-efficient aircraft, I’m excited to continue to provide new options to our customers.”

AAround The World

     “American continues to introduce some great new options in the Pacific, including Haneda (HND), Sydney (SYD), most recently Auckland (AKL) and, later this year, our second flight to Hong Kong (HKG) and first from our industry leading hub in LAX.
     “We’ve also just won authority to operate in Cuba and are looking forward to further defining our product offering there.
     “From a fleet perspective, we just rounded out our Boeing 777-300ER fleet with aircraft 19 and 20, are about to take delivery of the 787-900, and look forward to welcoming the Airbus A350 in less than a year.”

Jim Dandy To The Rescue

     Although he gives the credit to others and is quite unassuming when it comes to taking curtain calls, attention should be drawn to the apparent ease by which American and USAirways Cargo combined themselves, at least from the customer’s point of view.
     Just think for a moment of the ripples to uproar that occurred when other airlines attempted to meld services together. From that vantage what happened, or rather didn’t happen, between USAir and American Airlines looks all the more remarkable.
     Jim assumed command as president of American Airlines Cargo in December 2013, but he spent a decade and a half in the airline business prior to his current posting serving as managing director of Commercial Planning and Performance where he led the airline’s commercial restructuring, including the airline’s strategic business plan, commercial financial budget, and network profitability and performance.
     Early in 2013, he was one of six to be named to the core integration leadership team responsible for the integration of American Airlines and US Airways.
     Earlier Jim earned his MBA from J. L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

Schools Out—Time For Report Cards

     “If we gave ourselves (the team at American Airlines Cargo) a report card just like those being issued this month as the school year ends across the world, I will always tend to be overly critical on myself, but I am pleased with our progress.
     “Like any good student, we’re always looking for ways to excel, but, as we have an incredible amount of unfinished business, I will leave most grades until later,” Jim smiles.
     “We’re specifically looking at how to modernize the customer journey from end to end but, perhaps even more importantly, we are focused on building a reputation for quality for our customers regardless of the season or the situation on the passenger side of the business.
     “As for our team, I would give them an ‘A’ for their dedication to improving and transforming the way we do business, which is key to our continued success.”

Steve Garth, Jim Butler and Linda Dreffein

Jim Butler with Steve Garth, Regional Manager Cargo Sales – ORD, and Linda Dreffein, Sr. Manager Cargo Sales – Eastern Division, at the warehouse in Chicago.

Defining Teamwork & What Works

      “There’s no magic here.
     “It’s all about the basics: continually recognizing employees and giving them the tools they need to succeed, providing our customers with a reliable operation they can trust, and collaborating with our industry partners in a way that offers more transparency and aligns with their goals.”

About Air Cargo Trade Shows

     “We’ve been very busy this year. I’ve traveled to South America and a number of places within the United States, just to mention a few.
     “As for which ones are best, it’s hard for me to answer this one, since I learned something different at each venue.
     “My favorite thing about all trade shows is getting to meet with customers face-to-face and working with other thought leaders across the industry.
     “Best of all, it is an opportunity to thank our loyal customers in person for the incredible support we continue to receive.”

Wow Factor At Air Cargo Americas

     The above words came from Jim at the big Air & Sea Cargo Americas event in Miami last November. They delivered the unvarnished truth and were a knockout for our money—it was the best, pure energy conversation at the entire conference.
     We also liked that Jim is no showboat.
     We suggested that he address the audience in Spanish, thinking—since he is fluent in the language—that it might pair nicely with the great Latin flavor of the Miami market.
     But he just politely smiled and addressed the audience in the language on everybody’s air waybill, adding:
     “We all have to embrace technology and partnerships that drive real change, and that means focusing on speed and visibility, while bringing additional value to our customers.
     “Despite air cargo having a global reach where you can fly to almost any major commerce center within 24 hours, together our inefficiencies have combined to slow the time to delivery.
     “We need to be faster.
     “The industry has been very fractured and speed will require alignment from the key players: forwarders and airlines.
     “We need to look for opportunities to improve all aspects of our business when it comes to tender, transit, and delivery times.”
     Our take some seven months later is that Jim Butler—who heads up the cargo offering of the biggest airline in the world—is an evenhanded, very smart “Prince” of air cargo. If he so chooses, he could easily move into the role of “King.”
     And even though he might dismiss the notion, we recall what Mel Brooks said in the movie History of The World Part 1.
     “It’s Good To Be The King,” Mel said.

The Ultimate Award Experience

     “While the industry challenges certainly make me feel like I’ve been in cargo for decades, it has been less than three years so far.
     “That being said, I am amazingly lucky to have one of the best teams in the industry, as well as an incredibly loyal set of customers.
     “Thus, rather than select a specific air cargo industry award—as we are not focused on winning awards—I will say the most impactful awards are those based off the opinion of shippers, forwarders, vendors, and other people we work with on a daily basis as it provides validation of our continued progress and success.”

What’s Next

     “We’ll continue driving toward a greater customer experience by delivering operational reliability, exceptional service, and a forward-thinking approach to the way we do business.
     “This includes timely notifications throughout the shipping process, consistent interactions through our team and self-service tools, and working with our partners to maintain a leadership position in the air cargo industry.

Joe Goode

     Anzac Express across the Tasman Sea evokes images of a proud time when The Australian and New Zealand Air Corps were formed.
     The pride lives on today as American Airlines Cargo now flies from LAX via the high, wide, and handsome B787 daily to Auckland.
     Having launched a daily, non-stop service between its Los Angeles Airport hub and Auckland, New Zealand, Joe Goode, Managing Director, Cargo Sales West at American Cargo, declares:
     “The B787 steps up to strong demand on the cargo front between AKL (Auckland) and LAX (Los Angeles), as well as additional demand beyond New Zealand into Australia,”
     “AA plans to expand operations across the Pacific, including new routes ahead to Tokyo, Haneda, and Sydney,” he added.
     Reports state that early on the new flights, outbound moved a variety of perishables and other consolidated freight.
     As cargo sales agent in Auckland, GSA Cargo Services said inbound consignments included medical supplies and mining machinery, e-commerce goods, perishables, horticulture products, edible fish, and that famous and always sought after fresh lamb from New Zealand.
     GSA also operates offices in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
     Menzies Aviation handles ground services, including cargo, in Auckland.

How About Those B787s!

     “Our growing fleet of B787s are certainly improving our offering because they allow us to make routes work that were difficult in our previous fleet given the fuel efficiency of the fleet.
     “We are about to take delivery of the 787-9, so that will further enhance the offering we have with that fleet.”

The Promise

     “We will continue to challenge the status quo and look for ways to enhance our products, network, and tools with the customer in mind.
     “Our efforts will continue to revolve around engaging our employees and finding more efficient and transparent ways to transport cargo.”

About Freight Forwarders

     “American has a longstanding successful dedication to the success of the air cargo industry, which means our two organizations share a very similar respect for the freight forwarders who make our business possible.
     “I think there are continued opportunities for the organizations within the air cargo communities to work together on legislation, supply chain efficiency, and building the attractiveness of the industry for the next generation.”

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend •
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